Public transportation accidents can be catastrophic and injured victims have the right to recover compensation for their injuries. Unfortunately, when public bus drivers cause accidents, the route to recovering the compensation you deserve is more complicated than in most car accidents.
The process is complex, but it is navigable with help. If you suffered injuries in a public transportation accident, we can help you understand your rights and file a claim for compensation to cover your medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Call Bressman Law today to schedule a free consultation with a public transportation lawyer in Hilliard: 877-538-1116.
How Do Public Transportation Accidents Occur in Hilliard, Ohio?
There are three primary ways people suffer injuries in an incident with a public transportation driver or bus:
- They are a passenger on the bus during a crash
- The bus collides with their vehicle
- The bus strikes them while they are on-foot or riding their bicycle
Driving a bus is a difficult task that requires training, undivided attention, and the utmost care. Any of the following negligent actions by a driver or bus company can lead to a serious accident:
- Excessive speed
- Not stopping at stop signs or red lights
- Failure to yield the right of way when turning
- Aggressive or reckless driving
- Driving carelessly in an attempt to remain on schedule
- Fatigued driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Issues with bus maintenance, or defective parts or tires
- Hiring untrained or dangerous drivers
If you believe a public transportation driver broke a traffic law or otherwise acted negligently and caused your Hilliard car accident injuries, we can help you hold the public transportation agency liable. This allows you to collect compensation for your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
How Can I Hold the Public Transportation System Liable for My Injuries?
We can help you collect compensation for your accident-related damages if a public transportation employee acted carelessly or recklessly and caused your injuries. This process is somewhat different than your typical Hilliard auto accident claim, but it still requires extensive evidence and documentation.
To prove the bus driver acted negligently, we need to collect a range of items that help us bolster your case and get the compensation you deserve. While the evidence varies from case to case, some of the items we frequently use include:
- The official police report from the scene of the crash
- Eyewitness accounts
- Images from the scene or video of the crash
- Dashcam video from the bus, if available
- The driver’s alcohol and drug test results
- Accident reconstruction experts
- Digital data from the bus
- Other expert witnesses
- Hours of service logs
Obtaining some of this evidence requires sending a spoliation letter to the transportation agency, while other items rely on a network of trusted experts and other resources. Without this evidence, though, it would be difficult to prove the bus driver caused the accident and almost impossible to hold the transportation agency liable.
What Does the Claims Process Look Like When the Defendant Is a Public Agency?
There are several legal theories and doctrines that make filing a claim and recovering compensation after a bus crash more complicated than most auto insurance claims. The first is the theory of “respondeat superior,” also known as vicarious liability.
Under the theory of respondeat superior, the bus driver is likely not the liable party in your case. Instead, we file the claim against the public transportation agency itself because the agency is responsible for the actions of its employees while they are on the job. The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) currently provides bus transportation throughout the area, and is the primary liable party in these cases.
However, because COTA is a government entity, Ohio’s Political Subdivision Tort Liability Act comes into play. This statute sometimes prevents holding public agencies responsible for their negligent actions. However, sovereign immunity does not apply when a government employee causes an accident while driving a vehicle owned by a public agency. This exception allows us to pursue compensation in your case — as long as we can prove the driver was negligent.
The process to file a claim against public transportation agency varies depending on the agency, but most have short deadlines so it is important to act quickly. Reach out to a public transportation attorney as soon as possible after your accident. You do not want to try to navigate this complicated process on your own.
Do I Need a Public Transportation Lawyer in Hilliard to Help Me With My Claim?
When you file a claim against a public agency, you must follow very specific procedures and meet tight deadlines. If you do not, you could lose your right to collect compensation. For this reason, you need someone who is familiar with these claims on your team.
You will also want aggressive representation to counter the legal team who represents the public transportation provider. These lawyers have seemingly unlimited resources and funding, and will use it to try to reduce your payout or deny your claim. Therefore, we need to go to work as quickly as possible after an accident to collect evidence and build a strong case. We can call in our own accident reconstruction specialists and other experts, provide documentation to disprove their allegations, and show a clear picture of your full range of accident-related losses and damages.
If a public transportation driver caused your Central Ohio accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. However, this process is complex and not something you should handle on your own. We provide tireless representation, fighting for the maximum possible payout based on your injuries and other losses.
How Can I Talk to a Public Transportation Lawyer Near Me for Free?
Bressman Law offers free case evaluations throughout the Greater Columbus area, including in Hilliard. Our legal team is ready to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 877-538-1116 to schedule your complimentary consultation.